Turkey-backed rebels violate ceasefire in Syria’s Idlib

Damascus, March 18 (IANS) The Turkey-backed rebel groups violated the cease-fire in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, state news agency SANA reported.

The rebels on Tuesday shelled several military positions in the Kafr-Nubul and Hazarin areas in Idlib countryside, causing damage, Xinhua reported, citing SANA.

The Syrian army responded to the attacks by firing at the rebels’ positions.

Meanwhile, SANA cited a report by Russia’s Defence Ministry as saying that the rebels in Idlib have violated the cease-fire five times over the past 24 hours and 38 times since the cease-fire went into force on March 5.

Russia and Turkey agreed on a ceasefire in the de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib on March 5.

The agreement comes after several times of direct confrontation between Turkey and Syria in Idlib over the past two months when the Syrian forces have been campaigning against the Turkey-backed rebel groups in the province.

The Syrian army started the operation in Idlib after Turkey failed to live up to pledges made during the Sochi agreement in 2018 between Russia and Turkey.

Under the previous deal, the rebels should have withdrawn from certain areas around the M5 and M4 highways in northern Syria.

Turkey was also supposed to disarm ultra-radical rebel groups in certain areas in Idlib, which did not happen.

The current ceasefire was seen as a chance to quell the recent confrontation in Idlib, mainly to allow humanitarian help for Syrian refugees who fleed their areas during the recent military showdown.



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